Friday, September 14, 2012

New Facebook game MOBSTERS: Criminal Empire

Mobsters Criminal Empire

Review: This is what a gang-themed strategy game should be. But the thing is you can relish the game only if you pay. 
You are a member in a gang who spares no efforts in moving up in the organization. Therefore, you must take over buildings to offer you with the resources you need to increase you influence, train your troops, and buy you defensive items. You seize prisons to recruit your troops, which might be chumps, thieves, pyros, soldiers and bruisers. But before you can train those units, you have to take over their hideouts. And since the police are going right after you, once your troops have been sent to a battle, they have to be scattered even when they are not hurt. That means, your troops will be sort of “disposable” no matter how the battles ends, which is why you should make good use of them. 
That is a clever story upon which the game is based. And the gameplay might sound simple enough. However, several rules are applied, making the otherwise simple game as complicated and difficult as any good strategy game you can think of. For example, the upgrades or takeovers of some buildings require the upgrades of your headquarters, which often need much more resources than what you can ever have in your storage, let alone produce them in your facilities. The level of your character determines how many buildings you can manage for the time being. And you can upgrade the machine guns or snipers, or to be specific, increase the shooting range only if you meet the requirements, which involve large amounts of coins, products and the upgrades of your headquarters. 

Sometimes Mobsters: Criminal Empire is just like those nasty games where you always have to spend lots of resources to complete tasks that reward you with only a few and where you constantly need to figure out how to obtain resources just to keep at the games. You can easily run out of products, coins, and especially muscles in Mobsters. Hence, to have enough troops at your disposal (literally), you have to upgrade the facilities, Gym and Psych Ward for example, to improve the muscle production capacity, take over more or ask from friends to ensure that you’ve got the required resources. 

And as in so many strategy games out there such as The Godfather: Five Families, Mobsters stresses upgrades and battles. That is quite obvious in its task designs – nine out of ten missions ask players to upgrade an existing building or take over a new one. All those actions need the resources and as is mentioned above, there are seldom enough of them even when you’ve tried in every way you can. And it is unavoidable to purchase more resources by using the Empire Bucks you obtain or by using your money. That might cause problems for freemium players but after all, no game is designed to entertain us for free. 

You may be delighted and pissed off by details in the game. For example, you can pay thousands of coins to hire machine guns and snipers and deploy them on top of your buildings. They serve as the city guards who work when anyone attacks your city. They make the city look pretty cool actually. And I’ve been asked to put dumpsters in the city without being told why. So I scattered them randomly. I didn’t realize what they are used for until hours later when I attacked an NPC’s city and saw its defensive deployment: the dumpsters were put around the prominent building to protect it, and any invader has to attack the dumpsters and deplete their HP before they can attack the building. Then I went back to my city to make some adjustments, only to find that nothing could be moved in this game. Unfortunately, no tutorial or tip has ever informed me of that. 

Although it causes mixed feelings with its inventive story, sophisticated rules, inadequate tutorial or heads-up and always insufficient resources, Mobsters: Criminal Empire is probably the best you can find of its genre.

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